Surface tension of dilute alcohol-aqueous binary fluids: n-Butanol/water, n-Pentanol/water, and n-Hexanol/water solutions


Surface tension of pure fluids, inherently decreasing with regard to temperature, creates a thermo-capillary-driven (Marangoni) flow moving away from a hot surface. It has been known that few high-carbon alcohol-aqueous solutions exhibit an opposite behavior of the surface tension increasing with regard to temperature, such that the Marangoni flow moves towards the hot surface (self-rewetting effect). We report the surface tensions of three dilute aqueous solutions of n-Butanol, n-Pentanol and n-Hexanol as self-rewetting fluids measured for ranges of alcohol concentration (within solubility limits) and fluid temperatures (25–85 °C). A maximum bubble pressure method using a leak-tight setup was used to measure the surface tension without evaporation losses of volatile components. It was found from this study that the aqueous solutions with higher-carbon alcohols exhibit a weak self-rewetting behavior, such that the surface tensions remain constant or slightly increases above about 60 °C. These results greatly differ from the previously reported results showing a strong self-rewetting behavior, which is attributed to the measurement errors associated with the evaporation losses of test fluids during open-system experiments.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8


a i :

Experimental coefficients in calculating mixture density

C :

Mass concentration (% wt)

h :

Height (m)

m :

Mass (kg)

P :

Pressure (pa)

R :

Capillary tube radius (m)

s :

Interfacial coordinate (m)

T :

Temperature (K)

U :

Uncertainty (%)

X :

Calculated variable

Y :

Measured variable


Change in variable

ρ :

Density (kg/m3)

σ :

Surface tension (mN/m)

1, 2, 3:

Location indexes

b :


c :


f :


i :

Index number





v :



  1. 1.

    Carey VP (2007) Liquid vapor phase change phenomena: an introduction to the thermophysics of vaporization and condensation processes in heat transfer equipment. Taylor and Francis, New York

    Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Eninger JE, Marcus BD (1979) Marangoni effect and capacity degradation in axially grooved heat pipes. AIAA J 17(7):797–799

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Vochten R, Petre G (1973) Study of the heat of reversible adsorption at the air-solution interface. II. Experimental determination of the heat of reversible adsorption of some alcohols. J Colloid Interface Sci 42(2):320–327

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Abe Y (2004) About self-rewetting fluids—possibility as a new working fluid. Therm Sci Eng 12(3):9–18

    Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Abe Y, Kotaro T, Masayuki N, Nicola di F, Raffaele S, Akira I (2006) Flexible wickless heat pipes radiator with self-rewetting fluids. In: 9th AIAA/ASME joint thermophysics and heat transfer conference, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

  6. 6.

    Legros JC, Limbourg-Fontaine MC, Petre G (1984) Influence of a surface tension minimum as a function of temperature on the marangoni convection. Acta Astronaut 11(2):143–147

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Ono N, Hamaoka A, Eda Y, Obara K (2011) High-carbon alcohol aqueous solutions and their application to flow boiling in various mini-tube systems. In: Evaporation, Condensation and Heat transfer. InTech, pp 465–486

  8. 8.

    di Francescantonio N, Savino R, Abe Y (2008) New alcohol solutions for heat pipes: marangoni effect and heat transfer enhancement. Int J Heat Mass Transf 51(25–26):6199–6207

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Kuramae M, Suzuki M (1993) Two component heat pipes utilizing the marangoni effect. J Chem Eng Jpn 26(2):230

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Savino R, di Francescantonio N, Fortezza R, Abe Y (2007) Heat pipes with binary mixtures and inverse Marangoni effects for microgravity applications. Acta Astronaut 61(1–6):16–26

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Berg JC (2010) An introduction to interfaces and colloids: the bridge to nanoscience. World Scientific Publishing Co., Hackensack

    Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Oliveira MLN, Malagoni RA, Fehr M, Franco Júnior MR (2008) Obtaining solubility data from a liquid–liquid equilibrium cell. Chem Eng Commun 195(9):1076–1084

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Cibulka I, Zikova M (1994) Liquid densities at elevated pressures of 1-Alkanols from C1 to C10: a critical evaluation of experimental data. J Chem Eng Data 39(4):876–886

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Linstrom PJ, Mallard WG (2014) NIST chemistry webBook, nist standard reference database number 69.

  15. 15.

    Green D, Perry R (2007) Perry’s chemical engineers’ handbook. McGraw Hill Professional, New York City

    Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Pai Y-H, Chen L-J (1998) Viscosity and density of dilute aqueous solutions of 1-Pentanol and 2-Methyl-2-butanol. J Chem Eng Data 43(4):665–667

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Taylor BN, Kuyatt CR (1994) Guidelines for evaluating and expressing the uncertainty of NIST measurement results. National Institute of Standards and Technology NIST, Gaithersburg

    Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Vazquez G, Alvarez E, Navaza JM (1995) Surface tension of alcohol water + water from 20 to J Chem Eng Data 40(3):611–614

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


Authors thank Roberto Bejarano for his work on the initial experiments. The work was supported by the National Science Foundation (IIA-1301726 and CAREER Award 1464504). The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Chanwoo Park.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Cheng, K.K., Park, C. Surface tension of dilute alcohol-aqueous binary fluids: n-Butanol/water, n-Pentanol/water, and n-Hexanol/water solutions. Heat Mass Transfer 53, 2255–2263 (2017).

Download citation


  • Surface Tension
  • Heat Pipe
  • Evaporation Loss
  • Bubble Pressure
  • Surface Tension Data